Navigating the Nuances of the Small Business Market

David Barnett
2 min readFeb 13, 2024

Today, let’s dive into the complex world of the small business market, addressing a question I received a few years ago about market conditions.

Understanding the Unique Dynamics:

The notion of a singular market for small businesses is a common but misleading concept.

In reality, every category and even each individual small business has its own distinct market.

Drawing parallels with real estate, where markets for three-bedroom homes can vary by city, the small business landscape is similarly intricate.

The Secretive Nature of the Small Business Market:

Unlike real estate, the small business market is shrouded in secrecy. The lack of transparent data makes it challenging to gauge market conditions accurately. While real estate transactions and prices are publicly available, no such comprehensive database exists for small businesses. This opacity further complicates the understanding of small business market dynamics.

Buyer-Specific Markets:

Buyers in the small business arena are diverse, each seeking unique opportunities aligned with their preferences and backgrounds. For instance, a buyer with an engineering background might be in the market for a manufacturing facility, excluding businesses like flower shops, regardless of their profitability.

Market Filters and Conditions:

Buyers often apply filters such as industry focus, geographic location, or personal considerations when navigating the small business market. These filters contribute to the complexity of defining a specific market, as the ideal business for one buyer might not align with the criteria of another.

Government Policies and Market Impact:

Observing market trends over the past few years, I’ve noticed the influence of government policies on specific small business segments. In my local context in New Brunswick, Canada, government programs aimed at boosting immigration have led to an influx of demand in businesses that are relatively simple to operate. The provincial nominee program, for instance, fast-tracks citizenship for immigrants investing in businesses.

Impact on Pricing and Overpaying:

This government intervention has inadvertently led to an oversupply of demand in certain market segments, causing newcomers to overpay for businesses. Businesses like gas stations, convenience stores, and small franchises have witnessed significant price hikes due to the pressure created by the provincial nominee program.

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Cheers,

Dave Barnett

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David Barnett

I write about Buying, Selling, Financing and Managing Small and Medium Sized Businesses SMEs www.DavidCBarnett.com New Stuff weekly, usually on Wednesday.